It’s Time to Start Using Your Gifts

Do you know what your gifts are? Better yet, do you know how to use them? Even better – are you using them? God endows us all with talents that can be used to build His kingdom. You may be wondering what yours are, or if you even have any. Let me assure you that, yes, you have gifts and the Lord wants to use them! You can use your gifts in several facets, both in and outside of the church building.

Unfortunately, there’s a few myths that float around when it comes to using our God-given gifts. Let’s combat them here.

Myth #1: Only “special” people have gifts.

The bible clearly states that each of us has a unique gift. Romans 12:6 says “we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” The scripture doesn’t stop there, but urges us to actively use these gifts. 1 Peter 4:10-11 says “as each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” The word “serve” in this text means caring for the needs of others as the Lord guides in an active, practical way – literally, “kicking up dust” because one is “on the move.”

Myth #2: Gifts are only for platforms.

1 Corinthians 12:14 says “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?” In this scripture, we see firsthand how each gift – no matter what position – is equally valuable. Sometimes we think that “real” gifts are designated for a stage. How wrong that is! Your gift – no matter how visible to others – is without a doubt important to the edification of the church.

Myth #3: Our gifts are for us.

If we don’t use our gifts from a foundation of love, they mean nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging symbol. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” The primary use for our gifts is to serve one another in love. It’s important that we never lose sight of this foundation. God does not give us gifts for us to boast, but for us to wear humility and put our brethren before us.

After reading this, I would urge you to pray to God and ask Him to reveal how he wants to use your gifts. You are called to actively serve and strengthen the body of Christ. We need you – so get moving!

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When God Changes His Mind

A 65 year old woman had a heart attack and was taken tot he hospital. While on the operating table, she had a near- death experience. Seeing the Lord standing, she asked, “Is my time up?” The Lord said, NO, you have another 33 years, 2 months, and 8 days to live. Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have various types of surgery on her body to look younger again. Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it. After her last operation, she was discharged from the hospital. While crossing the street on her way home, she was killed by an ambulance. Arriving in front of God again, she demanded, “I thought you said i had another 33 years? why didn’t you pull me out of the path of the Ambulance?”

God replied: I didn’t recognize you!

What a pity! The Holy Ghost wants you to know that “No matter what Good has spoken or promised to you, they will never manifest if you do not keep your part of the deal, since every promise of His has a condition attached to it. Yes, God is Almighty but He needs to work with you to bring His plans and purpose to pass.

May we not miss our opportunity of abundance blessings from God by our own ways in Jesus name.

The Catastrophe Of Identity

Jesus preached an absolute fidelity to the truth. We as His followers are told in Ephesians 6 to “gird our loins with truth“: wrapping your innermost core with God’s word and definitions. Why is this important? Because our innermost core is essentially our identity. If your self-perception is on point and your deepest sense of identity is aligned with the truth of God’s word, you will not lose course. You will be able to weather any storm.

In case you haven’t noticed, there seems to be a little bit of a crazy, waywardness among the world right now. In a fit of lost self-identity, everything now goes as acceptable. Any resistance to this “freedom” is fought with assaults against the identity of the one with an opposing view. Any slew of negative adjectives recently thrown at the Church begins to fill the mind.

The problem is, as a church, we’re listening to these assaults on our identity.

In a misguided effort to be relevant, we’ve become too sensitive to the opinions of the world about us. We’re sacrificing some of the core of our identity and what God defines as right and wrong. We have placed parts of our identity in who the world thinks we are, instead of who God says we are.

Many believers even think that if they win approval from the world, then they are being relatable and serving Jesus better. The only issue is, I think Jesus may or may not have said something to the effect of knowing you’re on His approved course when the world is by and large persecuting you for your beliefs, not silently approving of them. See Matthew 5:10, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 4:12-14, etc. Persecution is the sign of doing something right in God’s eyes.

So as an effect, the church can no longer deliver the truth because it too is now struggling with identity. We take our cues on our identity from a world that knows its own so little that it’s confused about whether or not it is okay to be male or female. You, chosen warriors, do not drop your spiritual armor and your mantle to the ground. Do not drop it just because of the constant jeering and pressuring about your identity from the world. The world is in such a dire state it does not know how to even spell the word anymore. That is incredibly silly, akin to a ship captain with a working compass changing his course because some wayward boats are continually wandering pressure him to do so.

So, who are we?

Our past does not define us. The thoughts of others do not define who we are. Our own thoughts about ourselves do not even define us. Thoughts, past actions, and the labels given by others are not the elements defining our true identity. Words from a true authority are what defines us. Specifically, the words of Jesus over us. When you acknowledge who Jesus is, He will in turn acknowledge who you are. When you define Jesus as He really is, He defines you as you really are.

In the nonessentials, sure be relevant. But in the core, unmovable truths of God, be unrelenting. The world *needs* that in the church, whether they realize it or not. It is the “salt” Jesus calls us to be. Some may brand a swirling, uncontrollable global state of “do whatever you want” sin as fresh and freeing, but it’s not. It’s actually ancient, and stale. The most overplayed tune of all that just keeps trying to rebrand itself throughout millennia. Galatians 5 calls it repetitive and joyless.

The doctrines of God are eternal, in both time and depth.

Always fresh and original the deeper you delve into them. Jesus offended a lot of people and never traded in His identity to the endless pressure against it everywhere He went, and He never tried to be fresh or cool. He still ended up being the most refreshing, original, and magnetic being to ever walk the earth.

Do not be afraid to be truth, do not be afraid to speak truth.

Jesus came only to heal the sick. Someone can’t know if they have cancer until they go see a doctor and become informed. Nor can the world know it too is sick unless someone tells them the truth. A doctor can’t heal someone who never comes in for treatment because they’re oblivious to their dying condition. And Jesus truly is the one and only great healer.

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Behave Consistently With Your Self-Image

You develop new beliefs by taking actions consistent with those beliefs. You act as if you already believe that you have these capabilities and competences. You behave like a positive, optimistic, and cheerful person toward everyone. You act as if your success is already guaranteed. You act as if you have a secret guarantee of success and only you know about it.

You realize that you are developing, shaping, and controlling the evolution of your own character and personality by everything that you do and say every single day.

Since you become what you think about, you should only say and do what is consistent with your self-ideal, the person you must aspire to be, and your long term future ideals. You should only think and talk about the qualities and behaviours that are moving you toward becoming the person you want to be and toward achieving the goals that you want to achieve.

Your beliefs are always manifested in your words and actions. Make sure that everything you say and do from now on is consistent with the beliefs that you want to have and the person you want to become. In time, you will replace more and more of your self-lomiting beliefs with life-enhancing beliefs. Overtime, you will completely reprogram yourself for success. When this occurs, the transformation that takes place in your outer life will amaze you and all the people around you.

The Prayer After The Audacious Prayer

We’ve all been there. After praying feverishly about something big and audacious, God sometimes gives us exactly what we asked for. Whether we’ve been granted permission to adopt a child, been given a promotion into management, or been selected for a full-time overseas mission, being a good steward with God’s trust becomes paramount.

That’s why it’s very important to follow-up an answered prayer with an additional plea to God’s ear—asking for the wisdom and courage to endure. If you’re in that phase of life right now and don’t know what to pray about, let’s pray right now together:

Follow-Up Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for answering our big and audacious prayers. We couldn’t be more grateful of your provision.

At the same, we’re scared. We don’t want to ruin what or who you’ve given us. We want to be the best we can be with the gifts you have given us, but we don’t trust ourselves.

So we ask for wisdom, strength, and humility to carry your blessings well. We may not trust ourselves, but we trust you. Please give us the ability be like you as we take in a needy child, lead people at work, receive a large sum of money, enter the full-time mission field, and etc. Let our presence decrease and your presence increase.

With all glory to you and in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Follow-Up Scripture

In addition to follow-up prayer, we should meditate on scripture during a season of increased responsibility and increased trust. There are several verses in the Bible that are great for this, but we are a few highlights:

2 Corinthians 2:14 – But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. (ESV)

Colossians 4:2 – Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (ESV)

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A Hand To Hold In The Darkness

When the storms of life rage and the darkness grows dense, that is no time to panic or fear. No matter how dark things seem, God can see what you can’t see, and He promised to be with you and guide you safely to shore if you’ll trust Him.

Uncle David the psalmist knew the truth that God is Light and the darkness can’t hide anything from His view.

Even the darkness will not be dark for you; the night will shine like the day, for Darkness is as Light to you. (Psalm 139:12) NIV

Most of us have experienced a “midnight hour” in our lives – a time when things seemed their darkest and bleakest. That’s probably how the disciples felt that night on the Sea of Galilee. It was night and they were struggling to no avail. The wind was blowing against them, and they were no doubt growing discouraged and weary. Yet it wasn’t dark to the Master. He was watching over them with loving care. He is watching over us, too, and He promised to help us in our time of need.

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help the. (Isaiah 41:13) KJV

God is always present with us, and we have His promise that He will help us. But when tests and trials come, the rowing always gets tougher when we allow our view of God to become masked by the storm. If we’re not careful in the midst of a test or trial, we can lose our perspective of reality and take a wrong turn.

Like my pastor will say, every situation in life is in time and season. He also cautions people never to make a life- changing decision in the middle of a crisis. God’s time is always the best and it’s better to seek God and regain their composure and perspective.

I’ve seen people make life- changing decisions that they later regretted because they lost their perspective in a storm of life. Their ship was pitching and rolling on the waves of adversity, and they lost sight of the Master. They began to take matters into their own hands, and they suffered consequences that God never intended for them to suffer.

Storms have the ability to warp our perspective if we’re not careful. Even some of the great men of the Bible temporarily lost their focus in times of trouble. For example, Chief Moses as he dealt with a rebellious people; a heart sick Uncle David as he grieved for a son who had tried to kill him; a despondent Chief Elijah as he ran from jezebel; and an angered Chief Jonah as God forgave a penitent nation. At times, duress and personal struggle caused the attitudes of these men to become tainted by their troubles. They wanted to give up and quit. They wanted to take matters into their own hands and try to change God’s plan. But God wanted them to cling to Him and let Him guide them through the storms and struggles.

It’s so easy to lose your perspective of reality when things seem dark, but if you’ll hold tightly to the Saviour’s hand, light will come. The day will dawn, and your “midnight hour” will be a thing of the past.

Psalm 30:5 says, “… Weeping may endure for a night, But Joy comes on the morning.”

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Running Steady and Consistent Does Not Always Mean Running Fast

Recently I have tried to get back into running. I started to use a running coach app that teaches and encourages me throughout my run. A major focal point of the first few runs has been the different types of runs. There are recovery runs, interval runs and even max effort runs. The first two of my runs were recovery runs. These runs are about running at an even and consistent pace. The progression of each run is to start slow, ease into the full run and allow my body time to wake up and realize its being active.

Regardless of the type of run, easing into it is critical. When I look back at my previous runs I see that I am not running faster, which isn’t the purpose, but I am keeping a steadier pace throughout the run. This is a win. When I was running before, I would always try to be faster throughout, but would end up being slow at the end.

Running with revelation

As I ran with this new mindset, I was hit with a revelation. What if my spiritual run was like this? What if instead of constantly living in spiritual highs and lows, I could live a consistent and steady spiritual life? The mindset of running a certain speed, or distance had to shift. I just had to get out and enjoy the run. Similarly, my life mindset had to shift. It had to shift from obtaining accomplishments and goals by a certain age, or time to enjoying what and where life has me right now. Do you find yourself getting this huge wind of spiritual high after hitting bottom to then only a few days later hit bottom again? This kind of fluctuation of spiritually can be harmful to our relationship with God and ultimately burn us out.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lords work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

Our faith should be consistent

While we may have times of great triumph which our praise and thanks are elevated, our faith and hope should not fluctuate. If our faith is only high when good things are happening is it really faith? Often in life we can get stuck in this performance identity that tells us if things are going a certain way life is good, God is good. If I’m finishing my miles under a certain time then all is well and life is good, God is good. But if we aren’t performing to what this false identity is telling us, then we believe that something is wrong. We believe that God must be mad at us, or he doesn’t care about us anymore.

“Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.” – Hebrews 12:1

We aren’t called to run as fast with max effort for the rest of our lives. We are to run at a pace that allows us to consistently build upon our lives, so that we are a better version of ourselves than yesterday. Maybe you have issues with anger, or dealing with someone at work. Each time you get into a situation that makes you angry, I encourage you to find a way to deal with your anger better each time. Let this be your practice until eventually… it is not an issue.

That is breakthrough. That is God working in your life. And if you aren’t getting better ask God why. Ask him what is that you are holding on to that isn’t allowing you to stay at a consistent pace. Trust me from experience, he’ll let you know if you let him!

Are You In A Difficult Season Of Life?

This post is for people, like me, who have been through difficult times in their lives. Translation: this post is for everyone. Going through times of trial is part of being human. In fact, we are either just coming out of a trial, currently in a trial, or about to go into a time of trial. That sounds depressing huh? The truth is that difficult times of trial do not have to be viewed as a negative thing. Although each person on earth has unique trials in their lives, I see three common points that are involved in trials for all of us.

1. We all have them.
The bible says to build each other up in faith. Build each other up as trials present themselves. We all have trials, but each trial is unique. Just because we may not struggle with the same thing as another does not mean that we should be insensitive and unwilling to build up someone going through a difficult season in their lives.

2. The deepest parts of ourselves are exposed.
The person that you truly are is who you are when you are in a rough time or under extreme pressure. We really learn who we are and what we can handle during times of trial. Although we look at this as a negative thing; knowing who we are deep down inside and what we are able to handle should be a positive thing.

3. We find ourselves.
A trialing time is going to magnify who you truly are on the inside. Sometimes we find ourselves during the trials; sometimes it isn’t until after it has past. Ask yourself this question: Who am I during times trial in my life? Finding yourself can be a beautiful thing if you use it to grow and develop into who you want to become in the future.

Trials are not supposed to be looked at negatively. However, we enjoy comfort so we look at a time of trial as being a bad thing. In reality, in order for us to become who we are supposed to be, we must go through some trialing times. The bible says in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Definition of Trial: a tryout or experiment to test quality, value, or usefulness.

What if we viewed the difficulties in our lives more as quality tests instead of seeing them as horrible times? James 1:2-3 says to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance.

I grew up playing city league baseball. I can remember going to these huge recruiting days as a kid. You would get out there, they would put you in some simple scenarios, some difficult ones, and in some that seemed impossible. I always wondered why the coaches would do that. I realize now that it wasn’t to see if I could do something impossible, it was to see how I reacted, adapt and grow in the trial when success seemed impossible.

If you are in a time of trial, I encourage you to change your mindset. Think of this season as more of a test to work on your most inward character and to find yourself on a greater level in the process. Above all else, stay encouraged! God has not left you; He is simply growing you for who He needs you to become. Finish this difficult season strong!

You Are Better Than You Know

In Conversations, Can We Do Better Than Asking "How Are You?!"  Did you know that one of the rules of improv is that you can’t start a  scene with “How are you?”

Louise Hay, the writer, says that the roots of most of our problems in life are contained in the feeling, “I’m not good enough.” Dr. Alfred Adler said that it is the natural inheritance of people to have feelings of “inferiority” that starts from childhood and often continue through adult life.

Many people, because of their negative beliefs, most of which are erroneous, falsely consider themselves to be limited in intelligence, talent, capability, creativity, or skill of some kind. In virtually every case, these beliefs are false.

The fact is that you have more potential than you could ever use in your entire lifetime. No one is better than you and no one is smarter than you. People are just smarter or better in different areas at different times.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.

Richard M. Devos

You do not believe what you don’t see; you see what you already believe. You actually view your world through a lens of beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, and pre- conceived notions. You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.

Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” This means that you always act on the outside based on your innermost beliefs and convictions about yourself.

In Mathew 9:29, Jesus says ” According to your faith, {it will be done} unto you.” This is another way of saying that your intense beliefs become your realities. They determine what happens to you.

All improvement in your life comes from changing your beliefs about yourself and your possibilities. Personal growth comes from changing your beliefs about what you can do and about what is possible for you. Would you like to double your income? Of course you would! Here is the question: Do you believe that is possible? How would you like to triple your income? Do you believe that is possible as well?

Whatever your level of skepticism, let me ask you a question. Since you started your first job, haven’t you already doubled or tripled your income? Aren’t you earning vastly more than you earned when you started? Haven’t you already proven to yourself that it is possible to double and triple your income? And what you have done before, you can do again probably over and over if you just learn how. You simply have to believe that it is possible.

According to Napoleon Hill, he said “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

If you have any other contribution to this, please feel free to comment.

World’s 8 Superb Lessons Worth Sharing With Loved Ones

*Shakespeare :*👌🏿

Never play with the feelings

of others because you may

win the game but the risk is

that you will surely lose

the person for a life time.

——————————–

*Napoleon:*👌🏿

The world suffers a lot. Not

because of the violence of

bad people, But because of

the silence of good people!

——————————–

*Einstein :*👌🏿

I am thankful to all those

who said NO to me It’s

because of them I did it

myself.

——————————–

*Abraham Lincoln :*👌🏿

If friendship is your weakest

point then you are the

strongest person in the

world.

——————————–

*Shakespeare :*👌🏿

Laughing faces do not

mean that there is absence

of sorrow! But it means that

they have the ability to deal

with it.

———————-

*William Arthur :* 👌🏿

Opportunities are like

sunrises, if you wait too

long you can miss them.

——————————

*Hitler :* 👌🏿

When you are in the light,

Everything follows you, But

when you enter into the

dark, Even your own shadow

doesn’t follow you.

——————————–

*Shakespeare :* 👌🏿

Coin always makes sound

but the currency notes are

always silent. So when

your value increases

keep quiet.

Hope you gained something from this.

Don’t Let Life Hijack You

Don’t let life hijack your brain! Life used to hijack my brain all the time! I used to worry about why my work wasn’t noticed, why can’t I figure out my life, why is my life this hard and I work very hard, etc….these types of thoughts consumed me every day. I allowed these things that were beyond my control to hijack my everyday thoughts. All of this negativity followed me all day long.

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It is up to you to realize that you must fill your brain with goals- be ambitious! Like the body requires the proper nutrition to perform optimally, the brain requires positivity, self-confidence and, most of all, it is up to you to control it. Once that mind gets hijacked, you are doomed!Something or someone controls it and they will take you for a ride. Trust me- a lot of people enjoy these mind games and watching you respond like a puppet to their every command. No one wants to fail a test. No one wants to get heartbroken. No one wants to get passed over for the promotion at work. No one wants to feel expendable. But, guess what? That is the world we live in. You must learn to push past every single thing and person that wants to hijack your mind. It is critical that you always have goals in front of you so that those negative things that will happen to you don’t derail you and your plans. Make sure that you are the only one who owns the real estate in your mind!

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You Are A Youth For As Long Than You Think

If you grew up in a church like I did, we probably had similar experiences: messy games, crazy trips, and tons of great memories.

You also probably heard several sermons and devotions on 1 Timothy 4:12. And maybe, like me, your student ministry logo was somehow based on this verse.

Remember it?

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)

It’s a commonly used verse by many church leaders. Paul’s message to Timothy is an incredible encouragement and challenge to young people. It probably inspired you as a 15 year old to become more Christlike.

But here’s the reality: Timothy was likely in his early 30s when Paul wrote this. He wasn’t 12, 15, or 19. He was the equivalent of today’s millennials.

Timothy was a leader among 1st century Christians and an elder at the church in Ephesus (along with John the Apostle). At this point in the New Testament, Ephesus was the third largest city in the Roman empire, so equivalent to modern-day Chicago.

Paul, nearing the end of his life, filled letters to Timothy with practical wisdom. These letters show an old man giving final words of counsel and encouragement to a young leader in the church.

And what does he include to this 30 something? An admonition to not get discouraged by people who look down on him because he appears to be a “youth.” Historians estimate men in the first century AD lived until their mid-60s, so Timothy was now “middle-aged.”

Why it’s important today

What does this mean to us, millennials, today? Many of us are

  • Over 27 (49 million millennials to be exact)
  • Married
  • Established in our careers

Yet despite the fact we are in new life stages, many older folks look down on us for our age. We are considered inexperienced, unprepared, and incapable simply because of our birth year.

I realize age is not a direct indicator of wisdom. As someone once said “Some people have 20 years of experience. Others have 1 year of experience 20 times.”

But how others think and act is outside our responsibility. Instead, let’s focus on us. What can we do knowing people will consider us a “youth” well into our 30s?

Simple. Follow the instructions of Paul to Timothy: set an example for other believers in the areas of in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Live a life that does not allow older generations to scoff at your age or consider you incapable of something.

Stop complaining about the perceptions, and intentionally live in a way that prevents others from despising you simply because of age. You’ll be amazed at how much your influence will increase.

Only by walking through the desert do we receive the refreshment of God.

By: Joshua Delp


Often, when faced with trials of many kinds, we view it as the work of the enemy and not the work of God. As far as I can see, this is not a biblical truth. Now certainly, there is an element to trial that involves our sinful nature, fleshly desires, spiritual warfare, and the chaos and insanity of this world.

I know many of you who are reading this have suffered greatly. You have seen and experienced that which you would not wish on your worst enemy. I know that. I have too. The pain and brokenness you have faced was not the work of God.

But our God is the God of Salvation; the God that makes all things new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Remember that God allowed Job to go through trials that he may give an example of faith to the generations. Promise after promise in the Bible assures us that God uses trial to create greater faith in us, steadfastness, perseverance, a more Christ like character.

James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

While no one enjoys hardship, we all know that it is in the hard times that a person’s true character is revealed. Following Jesus is easy in church; and when everything is going our way. What about when it costs us something?

Sometimes God must allow us to come to the end of our strength because it is only then that we learn to rely on His Grace, which is the power to be the men and women He is calling us to be.
The beauty of God’s Mercy is that if we will hold on to Him, if we continue to follow Jesus, even when everything is screaming on the inside and outside, our worse, when we are mediocre and complacent, he uses the darkness of this broken world to create something priceless in us: Steadfast faith that will lead us to Eternity with God.

Only by walking through the desert do we receive the refreshment of God. Only by persevering in the face of trial, do we receive the crown of Life.

Paul said it like this, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

James said it like this, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
And Peter said it like this, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7